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Hurt, but not retired

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Veteran speaks Manoj Kumar
Veteran speaks Manoj Kumar

Manoj Kumar is penning his autobiography

The season of biographies and autobiographies isn’t over. “There is more readership for books written by and on film personalities because people are always intrigued by them,” says veteran actor Manoj Kumar, who has nearly completed his autobiography, “Life and Death in Installments”.

He began penning his memoirs 14 years ago. “It has taken time. There are phases in life when you don’t feel like writing. It can be traumatic to go down memory lane. My book should be complete within six months,” he adds, promising,“I won’t hurt anyone.”

But Manoj Kumar is still hurt by the “Om Shanti Om” episode. “Shah Rukh and Farah Khan apologised but haven’t deleted the scenes that hurt me.” After a pause, he says, “I am notorious for my sense of humour. But ‘Om Shanti Om’ was in bad taste. That’s not the way you treat an actor who’s been working for over 50 years.”

He wishes Yash Chopra urges Shah Rukh and Farah to delete the scenes that mock him. “Yash Chopra brought them (SRK and Farah) to my house. I was very cordial and didn’t want them to say sorry. If Shah Rukh is a man of his words, he should have kept his promise. He gave me a mobile number and said we should keep in touch. I’ve tried calling the number but there’s been no response.” As an after thought, Manoj Kumar says, “Perhaps there was a discrepancy in writing down the number. I don’t know.”

The “OSO” episode has left its scars but work wise, he is starting a new chapter. He is excited about Chale Chalo, directed by Ujwal Singh. “The film deals with the issue of students committing suicide due to exam pressure. I have a small role, that of a Supreme Court judge. The climax of the film belongs to this character.” Talking of issues relating to children, Manoj Kumar is all praise for “Taare Zameen Par”. “It’s good to see such films being made.”

The actor will also start work on his next production. “I have two subjects in hand and will choose one depending on the star cast I’m able to get. Star appeal helps to get a good message to people across the country.” Ask him why he hasn’t acted for a while and he says, “Several offers came by but nothing was good enough.”

In between films and his autobiography, Manoj Kumar manages to find time to watch his favourite sport, cricket. The IPL, he thinks, will bring in more youngsters to the game. “It should be good to watch Indian and foreign cricketers playing together. IPL will help cricketers not to take things for granted. They have to work hard,” he says.

S. D. D.

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